(Lead image via Nike)
Jarvis Sam, the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Officer of Nike, has stepped down. Sam confirmed the departure with Footwear News. The former Nike executive joined the company in 2018 and has held several roles within his 4 years at the company. Sam spent only 6 months as DEI Officer, as he was promoted to the role in June 2022.
According to Business Insider, Nike employees were informed of Sam’s departure via email.
During his time with Nike, Sam helped to spearhead impactful initiatives like the Serena Williams Design Crew apprenticeship program aimed at promoting diversity in design, and the WIN Program that hires retired WNBA players into positions with the company.
“Nike alone can’t solve the world’s challenges around racism, homophobia, heterosexism, etc.,” Sam told Footwear News in April during a walkthrough of the Serena Williams Building at Nike’s world headquarters in Beaverton, Ore. “However, we believe that the voice that we have in sport and the influence that it makes on other similarly situated companies and league and federation partners and broadcast partners will enable us to develop a clear platform and help us navigate this.”
Nike’s DEI department has been under the helm of many different leaders within recent years. Sam is one of several people to lead Nike’s DEI push and depart the company soon after.
Felicia Mayo served as Nike’s Chief Talent, Diversity and Culture Officer for 2 years before she decided to exit this summer. She is now EVP of People at a financial service-focused technology company called Block.
Before Mayo, the Chief DEI Officer position was held by Kellie Leonard, an 18-year Nike employee who exited the role after 2 years in 2020.
In April 2018, Nike VP of Diversity and Inclusion Antoine Andrews left the company. Andrews’ exit came at turbulent time for Nike, clouded with issues relating to workplace culture. In March 2020, then-CEO Mark Parker acknowledged the issues in an internal memo, which mentioned “behavior occurring within our organization that do not reflect our core values of inclusivity, respect and empowerment.”